Author Topic: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service  (Read 241 times)

Offline Rickshaw

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The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« on: July 22, 2020, 07:51:31 PM »
The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service

The Fairchild C-123 Provider is an American military transport aircraft designed by Chase Aircraft and then built by Fairchild Aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. In addition to its USAF service, which included later service with the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, it also went on to serve most notably with the U.S. Coast Guard and various foreign air forces. During the War in Vietnam, the C-123 was used to deliver supplies, to evacuate the wounded, and also used to spray Agent Orange.

The C-123 Provider entered Royal Australian Air Force service in 1958.  Until then, the RAAF’s tactical airlift was provided by C-47 Skytrain aircraft.   By that stage, the writing was on the wall, the C-47 was no longer able to provide the service sought by the RAAF although, it simply would not lie down and die.  It’s utility however was such that the C-47 still kept on flying.  The RAAF had examined other aircraft, such as the Bristol 170 and the Fairchild C-119 but none had measured up.  Then along came the C-123.  It featured a rear ramp and an uninterrupted floor space throughout the length of the aircraft.  The RAAF ordered a half a dozen initially.   That was quickly followed up by two dozen.

The aircraft arrived in 1964, just in time to be deployed to Vietnam.   Replacing the C-47s of initially 35 Squadron, the aircraft deployed to South Vietnam.   Forming what became known unofficially as “Wallaby Airlines”, the C-123s became an essential part of the RAAFs effort in Vietnam.   Powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W Double Wasp with 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) each the aircraft had a top speed of 173 mph (278 km/h, 150 kn) maximum at 10,000 ft (3,048 m).  Wallaby Airlines suffered two losses to enemy action in Vietnam.

In 1970 with the announcement of the end of the commitment to Vietnam, the C-123s returned to Australia.  Once home they formed an essential part of the RAAF’s transport capability in and around the continent of Australia.   In 1973, the Oil Shock occured and the experience of operating piston powered aircraft started to become prohibitive.  The RAAF began seeking alternatives.  The Royal Thai Air Force was doing the same at the same time. 

In 1976, the Royal Thai government, seeking to extend the life of their C-123 fleet, placed a contract with the Mancro Aircraft Company, supported by the USAF, to convert a single C-123B to turboprop powerplants. Allison T56-A-7 turboprops were used and by the time the aircraft, dubbed C-123T, was complete it had new "wet" wings, an auxiliary power unit (APU) to assist with power movement of the control surfaces, and a heating system for the cargo compartments that also fed a new de-icing system.

The RAAF bought similar kits, which were in turn fitted to their own C-123s by the Government Aircraft Factory.  The Allison T56 turboprops had the advantage that they were already in inventory, powering the C-130 Hercules transport, so ground crews were familiar with the engine and conversation of pilots was easy.   The turboprops were downgraded to only 3,000 hp because of airframe limitations but even that offered 500 more horsepower than the previous piston engines.  This increased the top speed to 250 mph.

The aircraft depicted is one from 35 Squadron, the original Wallaby Airlines, which is commemorated in the Fin Flash.

















The Kit

The kit is the Roden 1/72 scale C-123.  It was a choice between that or the much older Mach2 one.  I decided after too many experiences with Mach2 kits to try Roden.   In the end, it was nearly as horrid as the Mach2 one would have been I think.   It is not a kit I can recommend.  The engines were from Flighpath Resins.  Painted with a hairy stick with Vallejo and Tamiya acrylics.  Decals from the spares box.

Offline Frank3k

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2020, 12:08:54 AM »
It looks good, despite the issues. It’s a shame about the Roden kit. I don’t think there are any good C-123 builds in any scale. I have the AModel 1/144 C-123 and it’s been a wrestling match trying to get things to fit.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2020, 03:08:19 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2020, 03:09:13 AM »
A bit of info on the real world Thai C-123T:  http://www.oldwings.nl/content/c123t/c123t.htm
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 08:59:57 AM »
Beautifully done with a very plausible back story.

Offline apophenia

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2020, 01:30:45 AM »
Beautifully done with a very plausible back story.

Indeed!

Am I right in thinking that the original piston Providers would be instead of the RW Caribous? (Or does 35 Sqn get Providers and 38 Sqn get Caribous?)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2020, 10:02:52 AM by apophenia »
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2020, 01:48:58 AM »
(Or does 38 Sqn get Providers and 38 Sqn get Caribous?)

¿Que? ???
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Offline apophenia

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2020, 10:03:53 AM »
¿Que? ???

Doh! I meant to type 35 and 38 Squadrons  :-[
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2020, 02:45:58 AM »
Given Brian's story mentions two dozen being ordered (in the real world, the RAAF initially ordered 18 Caribous and eventually had 29) and obviously this is related to the DH4 Caribou in real life (and I believe the fact that the C-123 was seriously considered by the RAAF as well), I suspect there would be no Caribous in this reality.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline kerick

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Re: The C-123 Provider in RAAF Service
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2020, 03:54:37 AM »
What’s left of that Thai C-123T would make a great cabin down by a lake. Even build a hull and take it out on the water!